Ashley Calhoun: Rahki manager and Author of New Music Business Curriculum!
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There is an important business element to the music industry that often gets missed by the public eye, upon which artists get brought together, deals get struck, and music gets made. In such a sphere as this, one needs savvy i.e keen awareness, people skills, and the willingness to set objectives and see them through to the final triumph or the bitter end.
Conventional music education programs tend to focus on refining one’s abilities in order to play music and improve their repertoire as a playing musician. That’s great, if that’s what you want to do. But if you want to make money from your music, that’s a whole other ball of wax.
Ashley Calhoun, manager to Grammy Award winning record producer Rahki, has written the Music Business Curriculum for Recording Connection. This in-depth study of the business behind “the business” jumps in and explains the objectives of the behind the scene players in the industry. Like gears in a clock, key players and departments work together to bring music to the airwaves or to other markets via digital distribution and placements in movies and media.
Many people dream of careers in the music industry but never have the chance of gaining an understanding of how things operate. Personality, collaboration, leadership, humor and people-smarts tend to go a long way anywhere in music. From A&R to promotions, to management, a real, usable education requires understanding the objectives, the ways in which the many components fit together, and possessing the necessary stamina it takes to get things done.
So how did the new curriculum come about? In a recent interview, Ashley told us:
I manage Rahki…who’s one of the mentors for the Recording Connection, so each month we generally bring on an apprentice for him, and we work really closely with Brian Kraft, the Chief Operations Officer, and the school. And Brian and I just got to know each other, we had a couple of really great meetings, and he just picked my brain on the music business and what I do day-to-day, and expressed that he wanted to build out this program, and asked if I’d be interested in contributing.
The Music Business Curriculum explores A&R, Marketing, Publicity, Promotion, Sales, Business, Publishing, and Management for artists as well as composers and producers. When asked about how people should decide what area of the business they should be angling to get into Ashley advises:
“They should look [to] where they’re most passionate. I personally know a lot of people who have left massive corporations where they had six figure jobs to be unpaid interns in the music business and figure it out, and some of them have gone on to be managers, some have gone on to be publishers, record label A&Rs. It’s really just what you’re passionate about at that point, because you kind of need that in any career or path in the music business, especially with how fast things change.”
Learn more about our Music Business Curriculum.
Recording Connection mentor Jeramy Roberts, Founder of the Electronic Musicians’ Guild on Monetizing Your Music: